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Americans Re-Set Retirement Expectations


Study Reports on Resilience of Americans as They Focus on a New Approach to Post-Recession Retirement

Americans have emerged from the economic recession with a new set of expectations around the purpose, timing and funding for retirement, according to a new study sponsored by AIG Life and Retirement in collaboration with Harris Interactive and Age Wave. The Retirement Re-Set Study is a national opinion survey of Americans 55 and older that reports on the emotional mindset, attitudes and expectations of pre-retirees and retirees nationwide post-recession.


The study found a significant shift in attitudes and actions since 2001, when SunAmerica conducted its initial landmark retirement study with Harris Interactive and Age Wave. Key findings about today’s pre-retirees and retirees include:


·    A new outlook:  After the recession, 54% view retirement as a new chapter in life, rather than a winding down—a significant increase over the 38% that held a similar view a decade ago.1, 2


·    Retirement is being postponed:  Pre-retirees say they now intend to delay retirement by five years—from 64 to 69—triggered in part by the recession and financial need.1, 2


·    Retirement no longer means the end of work:Almost two-thirds say they would ideally like to remain productive and include some work in retirement to stay active and involved.2

The Retirement Re-Set Study
is a public opinion poll conducted by Harris Interactive of adults age 55 and older who were representative of the general population by income, ethnicity, geography and gender.


·    Financial peace of mind is now four times more important than accumulating wealth:  61% name it their key financial goal.3


·    Unexpected multi-generational family assistance has become the new retirement wild card:  Pre-retirees must balance their retirement plans with the possibility of having to support aging relatives, adult children, grandchildren and siblings. Half of respondents expect to provide this support, with 70% of those believing their adult children will need financial assistance.2


The study shows that Americans are emerging with a more thoughtful and realistic financial outlook. Retirement is changing. While it may be more unpredictable and more challenging, it is also likely to be more interesting, creative and productive as Americans chart a new course for a successful and fulfilling retirement.


1 Re-Visioning Retirement Study, SunAmerica Financial Group and Age Wave, 2001.

2 In April 2011, Harris Interactive fielded survey responses by telephone from 1,001 U.S. adults age 55+. The
sampling error is +/-3.1%.

3 In August and September of 2012, Harris Interactive fielded survey responses online by 3,426 U.S. respondents,
age 55+, for select questions to reveal how attitudes have evolved in the past year.


About AIG Life and Retirement

AIG Life and Retirement is one of the largest life insurance and retirement services organizations in the United States. The business traces its origins to 1850 and has been building customer relationships, distribution partnerships and product and market expertise for over 160 years. Through its American General, AGLA, SunAmerica, VALIC, Western National, FSC Securities, Royal Alliance and SagePoint Financial businesses, it offers a diversified portfolio of life insurance, investment and retirement savings products, guaranteed income solutions and financial planning services. AIG Life and Retirement serves over 18 million customers and its products are sold by over 300,000 financial professionals.


About Age Wave

Age Wave is the nation’s foremost thought leader on population aging and its profound business, social, healthcare, financial, workforce and cultural implications. Under the leadership of Founder/CEO Dr. Ken Dychtwald, Age Wave has developed a unique understanding of the body, mind, hopes and demands of new generations of maturing consumers and workers. Since its inception in 1986, the firm has provided breakthrough research, compelling presentations, award-winning communications, education and training systems and results-driven marketing and consulting initiatives to over half the Fortune 500.


About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through their North American, European and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help the firm - and its clients - stay ahead of what's next.

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